The Waters Of Life


WATER WAYS: Sunset near Idfu, in Egypt, a nation whose 74 million people mostly live along — and depend upon — the Nile

Twice a year the monks and priests of the Church of Narga Selassie on Dek Island in northern Ethiopia gather to bless an urn of water scooped from the lake that surrounds them. They pray over the water for three days and ask God to sanctify it in the name of Jesus. Then, in a small stone alcove, the head monk pours the water over a silver cross, its detailed engravings worn almost smooth with centuries of polishing, and onto the heads of believers who come in their dozens to be baptized. For the rest of the year the waters of...

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